Spiritual Pathways: How Do You Connect with God?

As a pastoral counselor, my clients often want to talk about their walk with God. These discussions often contain feelings of guilt and frustration as clients share that they have difficulty connecting with God.

This rings a bell in my own life. As a new Christian, when I was in a church I couldn’t sense God the way I could sense him on a walk through the woods or standing over a majestic cliff over Bar Harbor, Maine. I felt I “should” feel God every Sunday and it just wasn’t happening. I wondered what was wrong with me.

I came across a a curriculum published by Willow Creek; The Ordinary Day With Jesus; Experiencing the Reality of God in Your Everyday Life by John Ortberg and Ruth Haley Barton. The authors describe a spiritual pathway as “the way we most naturally connect with God and grow spiritually.” There are seven possible pathways:

1. Intellectual
2. Relational
3. Serving
4. Worship
5. Activist
6. Contemplative
7. Creation

The material included a “Spiritual Pathway Assessment” which I was eager to complete. It was a great relief to see that my strongest pathway was creation. Being outdoors replenishes me, just as Jesus himself was drawn to lakes and mountains to be with his Father. This knowledge gave me great freedom and joy in my walk with God.

I recommend reading a wonderful book by Gary Thomas, Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God. Thomas uses different names for his pathways than do Orthberg and Barton, but he includes short assessments and useful descriptions of each path. If you are ware of these pathways, you will be better equipped to help others worship God the way he created you with your own unique spiritual temperament.

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